Small businesses are no stranger to challenges. In order to succeed, entrepreneurs must raise capital and diligently manage their cash flow, all while tackling unforeseen operational hurdles from staffing to marketing campaigns. These barriers can be insurmountable, particularly for woman- and minority-owned ventures. Throw in COVID-19 and staying afloat becomes even tougher. 

As president of Magna IV, a more than 45-year-old print and marketing business, I recently had the opportunity to partner with Wright Lindsey Jennings as part of the law firm’s Woman-Run initiative. The goal: to use my experience, both as a business owner and certified public accountant to provide the tips current and aspiring women business leaders need to survive COVID-19 and other crisis situations. 

 

Be willing to act quickly. From Dave & Buster’s to Gold’s Gym, Magna IV has a strong foothold in public-facing industries. As a result, the coronavirus-related closures affected us — and our bottom line — especially hard. As an executive, you have to act quickly. But perhaps more importantly, you have to act decisively. For Magna IV, that meant cutting costs to ensure proper liquidity while exploring potential new revenue streams like custom cloth face coverings or PPE sourcing and distribution.

 

Accept and address weaknesses. Times of crisis are painful, but they can be revealing. It’s important to use these opportunities to confront your company’s potential weaknesses. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of Magna IV’s revenue came from national brands in the restaurant, fitness, nonprofit and event sectors. COVID-19 forced us to re-evaluate our strategies. We’ve now made it a company-wide goal to diversify our client base and reach new markets. 

 

Adjust to meet the new normal. From 2004-2007, Magna IV was primarily a transactional printer with heavy demand for one-off projects such as brochures, magazines and posters. Then the Great Recession hit and our revenues dropped 40%. With flexibility and creativity, we realigned our services to meet the new digital climate. Today, we offer program-based solutions like online marketing portals to help clients centralize and streamline their marketing needs. 

 

Use all available resources. No matter the situation, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on changing regulations and financing opportunities that may impact your business. That’s why I continue to explore all available COVID-19-related resources at my disposal, including grant programs, loan funds and expert guidance like this Wright Lindsey Jennings cheat sheet. I’ve also launched a Facebook page to help others navigating this challenge.   

 

Strengthen your communication. Like anything, business relationships require work. During COVID-19, I’ve made it a priority to connect with key clients, financial partners and vendors by doubling down on my outreach efforts and increasing Magna IV’s presence online. But I’ve also made myself as accessible as possible to our employees to keep us on track, motivated and working together as a team.

 

Every day, business owners face their fair share of stress. But COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation, one that may permanently change the way we operate. Now more than ever, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

 

Kristi Dannelley is president and co-owner of Magna IV. Also a CPA, she oversees its financials, operations and new product and account development. Under her guidance, the company has become one of the largest printers in the Mid-South and top printers in the U.S. For more information, visit MagnaIV.com.

 

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